- (of a disease) spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact.
"a contagious infection"
- (of an emotion, feeling, or attitude) likely to spread to and affect others.
"her enthusiasm is contagious"
Covid, monkey pox, norovirus, pertussis, polio, measles, leprosy...the list goes on for far too long! No, I am not writing a blog today about how we should handle any of these diseases, and I'm not asking for anyone’s opinions on any of them. I am writing about what it is that they are and that is highly contagious.
When we hear the word 'contagious' it is mostly associated with negative feelings and fuels worry. There are numerous ways to mitigate risks from unwelcome contagions. Washing your hands, not touching your face, avoiding shared personal items, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and staying home when ill are just a few of the ways to prevent contagious diseases from spreading. Over the past few years, we have been bombarded with information about all of the bad things that are contagious.
What if there is another meaning of contagious?
Proverbs 17:22: ”A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
The second entry of the definition of contagious is what I would really like to dive into today. Contagious being an emotion that can spread to and affect others is not the part of the definition of contagious headlining the news, but it does deserve equal attention in my opinion. The Bible verse Proverbs 17:22 was written long, long ago, but I can bet if you think for longer than a few seconds you can see its application in your life today.
Are there people in your life that you can text, talk to, be around and your spirit is refreshed? On the other hand, are there people you can text, talk to, be around and your spirit is withered like dry bones? Don’t pretend that at least one or more names popped right into your head of who you think ugh when you see their name on the caller id, get a message that requires a response, or even an invite that you need to accept. All you can do is prepare yourself for the damage that you will feel upon leaving that get together. Are you either one of those examples in your daily life? Someone who uplifts others and encourages? Or someone who complains and draws the joy out of every interaction with people? My guess is that most of us fall somewhere in-between.
When I look inward, I can absolutely see that I have spent more time worrying about the part of the definition of contagious that brings negative thoughts and fear. Does the worry change the outcome for these contagious diseases? No, maybe it helps a little that by thinking about the consequences, I would do my best to prevent and prepare.
The second part of the definition of contagious in my opinion is equally or far more deadly than the first. Every single day, every interaction we have with another human being provides the opportunity to use contagious as a positive. Depression, anxiety, mental health issues, bullying, and so many more of today’s top hardships could be helped immeasurably by people deciding to treat people with things that the Lord views as good like a contagious spirit of joy, kindness, love, peace, faithfulness, and gentleness.
People have the opportunity to make a difference in each other’s lives. Think of a time when someone lifted your spirits and think of when someone crushed your soul, and both have lasting impact. Yes, we all probably have both if we have lived long enough, but what if we deliberately chose to lift spirits as much as we all could, wouldn’t that be awesome and life changing? Even something as simple as a smile, a card, a hug, can be a help to someone suffering.
Let us choose to make the world a better place with the good contagions the Lord gave us and make headlines of how those have changed the world instead of contagions of fear and being people who whither spirits and bones. Wouldn’t that be a great blessing to live in the hope and goodness of the Lord and spread that with no end? Instead of the death or disease toll we have seen for years on television, imagine a life and love toll changing the world. What a great shift that would be and it is completely doable, one choice at a time.